While Luke Davison could not attend Grafton to Inverell he followed the race intently through social media, anxiously awaiting the results of the final National Road Series race of the year. Depending on how the classic one-day race played-out Davison may have lost the title. At the day's end however, his Budget Forklifts team took an emphatic 1-2 victory with Peter Herzig and Michael Cupitt while Davison won the individual NRS title.
By taking the 2012 NRS title Davison joins the list of former winners that includes Garmin-Sharp's Nathan Haas and 2009 winner Will Clarke - who recently announced his move to Argos-Shimano for the 2013 season.
For Davison, it was a fantastic end to a season that has seen the former junior track world champion make significant changes in order to achieve the kind of results he is capable of. Davison praised the help of his coach Tim Decker for providing him with the kind of critical feedback he needed to get back on top.
"The biggest thing has been working closely with Tim Decker. He's the one who helped resurrect Glen O'Shea's career and seen him go to the Olympics [for the omnium]. That's evidence in itself that he knows what he's doing. Working with him this year and having a real plan from the get-go," Davison told Cyclingnews.
"I knew I had to be a lot more professional, 2012 was definitely a big turning point. Listening to someone who had a different perspective and could see things from the outside, where I think a lot of athletes don't fully appreciate that. You always think you are doing the right thing."
In addition to Decker, Davison says that without the support of his Budget Forklifts team he wouldn't have experienced a season that included a win at Gouburn to Sydney, the overall at Tour of the Murray River and 10 NRS stage victories.
"Having a team that was willing to support me and strong enough to support me," Davison says made his successful year possible.
"Doing a training camp a week before the tour [Gippsland] I think helped gel the team. In the first stage where Ryan [MacAnally] and I went 1-2, the lead-out train was pretty-well drilled. That definitely played a big part."
Despite missing Grafton Davison ended the year with 71-point buffer over second place Anthony Giacoppo (Genesys Wealth Advisers). Giacoppo needed to finish within the top-five to claim the title but had to settle for 28th place on the day. Giacoppo had recently wrapped up the Scody Cup at the completion of the Tour of Tasmania.
Building on success in 2013
While a number of NRS riders look to take a break after Grafton, Davison is already busy tuning his legs at a national track camp in Adelaide. The next part of his year is concerned with attempting to get back into World Cup-level condition with the goal of making the national team for the upcoming Oceania Track Championships in late November.
"With the track, to be successful it takes a lot of weeks to adjust to the different types of training. As much as I wanted to be at Grafton it was never an option.
"You need to be strong in the team pursuit to make a World Cup squad or a national squad. From that hopefully I would like to see my strength in the omnium or madison. This camp will be a real indication but I will definitely pursue those two events where I won my junior world titles. To try and get a World Cup win and get my name out there."
With such a consistent season Davison hoped he would have garnered the attention of a bigger team however, he believes that he may need more results to prove he's capable of turning professional on the road. He added that while he's had a number of offers to race overseas, he isn't sure if dedicating the coming season to criterium racing is really what he wants.
"I was hoping the NRS title would carry a little bit more credibility but I think the thing lacking was perhaps a few more international races," Davison told Cyclingnews.
"I guess the thing with the NRS is that you can win crits but professional teams are not going to pick up criterium riders. You need to be able to do road races and tours.
"I don't know if I want to get stuck in the rut of being a criterium rider for the rest of my life. I'd like to do the best I can with the track and then hopefully see how things evolve on the road. To be on a ProTeam I think is everyone's ambition but it's not something I want to let go of yet and I don't think a full-on criterium calendar is going to do that for me."
Davison's focus currently lies on the track and he is yet to decide his plans for the coming twelve months. If he makes the national track team there will be an opportunity to race in Belgium while he believes the NRS still be major goal of the 2013 season. The stint in Belgium or abroad however, may give Davison the added exposure he needs to make it onto a professional team.
"The track squad are going to do a six to eight week block in Belgium. I'm not ruling it out because I would like to make the national team. The NRS will probably still be the crucial part of next year's calendar."